President Barack Obama has taken the unusual step of intervening in a foreign election, asking both candidates in Afghanistan's disputed presidential race to allow the process for investigating fraud claims to go forward and threatening a cutoff in U.S. aid if "extra-constitutional measures" are taken. Obama called the leading candidate, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, on Tuesday, the day after he spoke to Ghani's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. The White House said Obama told both candidates that the U.S. expects fraud allegations to be thoroughly reviewed, urging the two men to seek a resolution that doesn't undermine Afghanistan's fragile national unity.
"He also noted that there is no justification for resorting to violent or extra-constitutional means, which would result in the end of U.S. assistance to Afghanistan," the White House said in a statement. The firm warning appeared to be directed mostly at Abdullah, who told thousands of supporters on Tuesday that he will declare victory, amid calls from some of his supporters for Abdullah to form a "parallel government."
Abdullah claims massive electoral fraud is behind the preliminary results from a runoff vote that put him a million votes behind Ghani. He said Tuesday he doesn't accept the results of the fraudulent vote.